In a recent development, Hamas has released a short video showcasing three elderly Israeli hostages captured during a violent attack carried out by the Islamist group on October 7th. The video has sparked outrage in Israel, with officials denouncing it as a “criminal, terrorist video.” The hostages, identified as 79-year-old Chaim Peri, 80-year-old Yoram Metzger, and 84-year-old Amiram Cooper, were taken captive alongside approximately 240 others during the rampage.
The video, shared by Hamas on Telegram’s messaging app, shows the three men sitting together. Peri, positioned in the center, addresses the camera, revealing the harsh conditions they have been subjected to and highlighting the suffering endured by elderly hostages with health issues. He passionately pleads for Israel to secure their unconditional release.
Peri’s bravery during the initial attack is commendable. As the gunmen stormed his house in Kibbutz Nir Oz, he valiantly attempted to repel them while ensuring the safety of his wife, whom he hid behind a sofa. Ultimately, Peri surrendered himself to save his wife, who remained concealed.
Ayala Metzger, Yoram Metzger’s daughter-in-law, expressed mixed emotions upon watching the video. She experienced a fleeting moment of joy upon seeing the hostages alive, but shock quickly followed as she observed their disheveled appearance—grown-out beards, weight loss, and noticeable frailty.
Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, a military spokesperson, condemned the video as a display of Hamas’ cruelty towards innocent elderly civilians in need of medical care. In a televised briefing, he assured the hostages that every possible measure was being taken to ensure their safe return.
The release of the hostages featured in the video is part of a week-long ceasefire agreement brokered by Qatar and Egypt at the end of November. The truce involved the release of over 100 hostages in Gaza in exchange for 240 Palestinian women and teenagers held in Israeli jails. Although progress has been made, there are still hostages who remain in captivity. Tragically, some have been declared dead in absentia by Israeli authorities.
Several agencies are working on the release of more hostages, with high-level meetings expected between the heads of the U.S. CIA, Qatar’s prime minister, and Israel’s Mossad, to address this pressing issue.
While the release of the video has caused distress and anger, it has also shed light on the plight of elderly hostages caught in this ongoing conflict. Their resilience in the face of unimaginable adversity is a testament to the strength and determination of the human spirit. As the world continues to navigate the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, diplomatic efforts must persist to ensure the safe return of all hostages and ultimately bring about a lasting peace.